Patients, politics don't mix, foe says

Zack McMillin reports:

The letter arrived in mailboxes from a woman who has cultivated respect in Memphis and around the country for her work treating women with breast cancer, saving lives and easing suffering with innovative approaches to treatment.

Dr. Christine Mroz wrote about her husband Joe Baier’s campaign to join the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, saying the couple had decided “we should attempt to help save Memphis and Shelby County from the certain destruction that is headed our way.” It asked for votes and donations. The message, say Mroz and Baier, who own and run the nationally recognized Mroz-Baier Breast Care Center, is more civil than the one voters in the district received in a recorded “robo-call” from Mary Ann Carpenter, wife of District 1, Position 3 incumbent Mike Carpenter.

However, that Mroz used a database of patients at the breast clinic to target potential voters has angered some supporting Carpenter in Tuesday’s Republican primary. The packet was sent to patients, many of whom have been treated for breast cancer, in a Mroz-Baier Breast Care Center envelope using the center’s official letterhead.

Would you think that this use of patient information would be a violation of HIPAA? From the story:

The Tennessee Medical Association’s director of legal and governmental affairs, Yarnell Beatty, said he sees no violation of the HIPAA privacy law, because the physician is allowed to use patient records for communications purposes that sometimes may have nothing to do with care.


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